African Ports Transformation and PortMiami’s Strategic Partnership - Global Trade Magazine
  October 15th, 2017 | Written by

African Ports Transformation and PortMiami’s Strategic Partnership

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  • Africa’s port utilization now exceeds 70 percent, resulting in congestion and higher trade costs.
  • The African Ports Evolution conference is taking place October 17-18, 2017 in Durban, South Africa.
  • PortMiami is pursuing a strategic alliance with African ports.

A key component of Africa’s trade transformation agenda is the upgrade of its transportation infrastructure, particularly its ports. According to a recent report, Africa’s port capacity utilization has now exceeded 70 percent, resulting in congestion and making it more costly to handle higher volumes of trade.

The African Ports Evolution conference scheduled for October 17-18, 2017 in Durban, South Africa will focus on “unlocking Africa’s economic potential through port development and optimization.” As the need for trade transformation—increases in port connectivity and cargo throughput—gains momentum across the continent, various stakeholders are leveraging the opportunity to increase their business interests and visibility in the region.

PortMiami is aggressively pursuing a strategic alliance with African ports, based on Miami’s geographical positioning to become Africa’s Gateway to the Americas. International trade is an integral part of Florida’s economy and PortMiami is a major driving force for trade in the state, contributing over $41 billion to the local economy annually. The port is recognized as a global gateway for trade, commerce, travel, and tourism, as well as the cruise capital of the world.

PortMiami is participating and playing an important role at the African Ports Evolution conference presenting itself as a case study for designing and constructing future ports in Africa. This session will discuss infrastructure requirements for African ports, analyze best practices from PortMiami for sustainable port development and it will emphasize the use of latest technology to drive port efficiency and optimization.

African ports confront similar conundrums as PortMiami. The port is constantly improving and upgrading its infrastructure. It recently completed series of capital improvements totaling about $1 billion. These upgrades included 52-feet dredging of the main channel, construction of a new tunnel that provides direct access to the terminals and the US Interstate Highway System, modernization of on-dock rail connecting to the national rail system, and acquisition of new gantry cranes that can handle larger neopanamax ships.

PortMiami has demonstrated strong interest in deepening engagement with Africa having already established sister-port relationship with fourteen African ports. In addition, port officials visited five African countries—Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Nigeria, Senegal, and South Africa—in May 2017. It recently hosted delegates from Port of Dakar, Senegal, in Miami and is now planning to host a PortMiami-African Ports Directors’ Forum in 2018.

With this strategic partnership between PortMiami and African Ports, African trade is on track for global integration.

Kemi Arosanyin is a Global Trade contributor and the Director for Africa Trade Expansion Program at the World Trade Center Miami. She writes, speaks, and advises on trade and investment in sub-Saharan Africa.